This program marks the start of an aggressive drilling program of over 27,000 metres testing a wide range of advanced and early-stage targets at Oklo's three priority Mali gold projects, Dandoko, Socaf and Yanfolila.
An initial 2,000-metre reverse circulation program is underway on priority targets within Dandoko and Socaf along with a 1,200-metre auger program at Socaf planned to start next week.
At Dandoko, initial reverse circulation drilling will focus on a zone of artisanal workings at the Diabarou prospect, following up a hole in that area which intersected wide zones of alteration and mineralisation with 12 metres at 1.5 g/t gold, 3 metres at 3.38 g/t gold and 20 metres at 1.44 g/t gold.
At Socaf, drilling will continue the evaluation of a sparsely outcropping window of Birimian volcanics interpreted to be on a continuation of the Senegal-Mali Shear Zone (SMSZ), where a number of significant, shallow drill hole intersections were reported from 2007-08 associated with a 2-kilometre-long gold-in-soil anomaly.
An extensive auger program is also planned for Yanfollila in the new year.
Targets in detail
Diabarou covers an area where artisanal workings have revealed gold bearing quartz veins up to 3 metres wide extending for over 600 metres.
Drill rig access into the central part of the prospect has been hampered by artisanal workings and remains untested prior to this work program.
The 1,000-metre reverse circulation program will be focussed on the extensions to the artisanal workings that are untested by drilling and to the immediate east of an area associated with a wide zone of alteration.
In addition, drilling will be undertaken on a newly developed artisanal trend about 100 metres to the north which has recorded gold results of up to 68.3 g/t gold from channel samples collected from the bottom of the artisanal workings.
These zones of untested artisanal workings will form the focus of the program now underway.
Meanwhile at Socaf, the SMSZ is widely mineralised and hosts no fewer than six major gold deposits including Sadiola (13.5 million ounces) and Loulo (12.5 million ounces) at its northern extent closest to Oklo's project.
A 1,000-metre reverse circulation program is scheduled to start in two weeks with a 1,200-metre auger program immediately following the Diabarou drilling.
The drill holes are designed to follow up the significant drill hole intersections reported from 2007-08, including 15 metres at 2.1 g/t gold, 8 metres at 4.1 g/t gold and 8 metres at 3.5 g/t gold from an extensive gold-in-soil anomaly that extends for over 2 kilometres.
Mali offers extensive multi-million-ounce gold mine potential, with a prolific endowment of gold deposits greater than 40 million ounces of gold in the country's west alone.
The country is Africa's third largest gold producer, with about 1.3 million ounces of output in 2013 under an established, modern mining code.
The favourable fiscal regime places no restrictions on foreign investment and no restrictions on capital flows in or out of the country.
Importantly, Oklo holds an extensive landholding in prolific gold belts with excellent access for drilling via sealed road.
The company also benefits from good access to water and power infrastructure.
Oklo's aggressive drilling push in Mali has been supported by strong investor interest.
Last month, Oklo supplemented an already heavily oversubscribed A$3 million share placement with an additional $500,000.
The demand far exceeded the targeted amount of $2.1 million.
As part of this fundraiser, commitments of $75,000 were slated to come from Oklo managing director Simon Taylor while $100,000 came from major shareholder Terra Capital.
The start of this ambitious drilling program across three project areas is expected to deliver constant newsflow over the coming months, setting up Oklo to benefit from share price catalysts related to the more detailed definition of the company's most advanced gold projects.
The company also benefits from a strong cash position as the Mali field season gets underway, thanks to recent investor understanding of the highly prospective nature of Dandoko, Socaf and Yanfolila.
Dandoko is a particularly interesting prospect, being only 30 kilometres from the 5.15-million ounce Fekola gold discovery and 50 kilometres from the 12.5-million-ounce Loulo gold mine.
Jurisdictionally, Oklo benefits from a modern mining regime and outstanding gold prospectivity in Mali, which is already Africa's third biggest gold producer.
There are no restrictions on foreign companies repatriating profits from the country.
Also, infrastructure is an important plus in Mali, as Oklo is able to access its drill sites by sealed road.
Oklo's technical team as this exploration gets underway is being led by Dr Madani Diallo, a geochemist with an outstanding track record as a team member in the discovery of Sadiola (13 million ounces), Morila (8.5 million ounces), Syama (7.9 million ounces), Essakane (5.3 million ounces) and others.
Significantly, Diallo owns 7.8% of company and maintains strong relationship with Mali government, having been awarded a knighthood as a pioneer to the Mali gold industry.
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